In the wake of the Colombian prostitution scandal and with growing evidence that it was not an isolated incident, experts from John Hopkins University in Baltimore will teach a two-day ethics course to Secret Service agents.
NBC reports the two-day workshop will begin on Wednesday in Laurel, Md., outside Washington. The workshop was initially planned for 20 agents but 100 supervisors have been ordered to participate in the workshop following evidence of the scale of sexual misconduct among Secret Service agents on foreign duty.
According to Digital Journal, a report on other misconduct involving agencies charged with protecting the president was presented to Congress. The report showed that Secret Service agents had been involved in sexual misconduct during previous foreign trips. Digital Journal reports the owner of a strip club in San Salvador said his club "routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting agents from the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration."
NY Post reports 12 agents were disciplined or lost their jobs following allegations that they brought back prostitutes to their Cartagena hotel rooms days before President Obama's April 14 arrival in the city for a diplomatic summit. Eight of the agents have lost their jobs, one had his security clearance revoked and three have been cleared of serious wrongdoing.
According to CBS, Professor Chris Dreisbach, Director of Applied Ethics and Humanities, said: “I believe Director Sullivan [chief of Secret Service] wants to keep this conversation out there in the public." Dreisbach said the decision to increase number of participants in the workshop was because Sullivan was convinced that the issue needs special attention.
Dreisbach said Hopkins has been in partnership with the Secret Service for years. NY Post reports that John Hopkins spokesperson Tracey Reeves, said that the University has provided two-day training programs to the U.S. Secret Service for the past 12 years. Reeves revealed that about 100 people, mostly supervisors, will attend the two-day ethics course this week.
CBS reports that Dreisbach explained the principles underlying ethics training: “A useful approach to ethics is to develop the habits of knowing how to distinguish between too little and too much and shooting for the middle." He said the training will aim to teach the agents to see what they do as a profession and not just a job. NBC reports the professor said the course will challenge participants to ask themselves what the agents who were involved in the scandal were thinking when they decided it was okay for them to behave the way they did.
NBC reports Dreisbach said: “Law enforcement is a profession, not just a job. Say a hamburger maker had gone to Cartagena and hired a prostitute. It just wouldn’t be news. I think by their very nature the Secret Service draws a lot of expectation about their accountability and their integrity, and I think on the whole they live up to that.”
Digital Journal reports the director of Secret Service Mark Sullivan, released a document, "enhanced standards of conduct," which among other regulations requires briefings for Secret Service personnel before protective visits and events; briefings about areas and establishments deemed off-limits. The regulations state that no foreign nationals are allowed in agents' hotel rooms, and prohibits agents patronizing "non-reputable establishments." It prohibits consumption of alcohol at the hotel once protective visit begins. In certain trips, two senior supervisors will chaperone trips, and their responsibility will include briefing Secret Service employees on the standards of conduct. It requires that for service personnel to be eligible for travel, they must complete relevant ethics training.